Saturday, October 03, 2009

A sideways glance...

If you've ever raised chickens, no doubt you've seen how they cock their heads from one side to the other. Perhaps their eyes don't allow the best view straight on; after all, their faces are so pointy, they end in a beak! Or maybe - like me - they have a "good" eye and a "bad" eye (without corrective lenses, my vision is 20/400 in my legally blind left eye). So, perhaps chickens check things out with a far-away eye and a close-up eye, just like me - but unlike me - they must roll their entire head from side to side to size things up. Now I know a chicken has a tiny little head and a tiny little brain perhaps the size of a pea. My brain has to switch from the right lobe (eye) to the left lobe (eye)to "decide" which image to process. Do chicken brains have lobes? Split-pea takes on a whole new meaning.
















Giving 'em the eye
, 16 x 20, acrylic on canvas












My two disparate eyes send wildly different images to my brain - one much more in focus than the other, depending upon distance. I can almost feel my brain switching eyes much as one shift gears: pause, shift, go. Most of the time this happens subconsciously, but there are times when this becomes uncomfortable - as when one's focus shifts from an entire room, to friends across the table, to the small print on a menu. Because the lenses in my glasses are so different, the size of the corrected images differs enough so that once again my brain must choose the best (sharpest, clearest, most meaningful) image. I usually just remove my glasses, thus eliminating distance vision - and making the near (left eye view) world of friends and menus the only options available .

I read with my (bad) left eye, too. Even though I am distance blind in that eye, my close focus is superb - vastly better than that of my astigmatic right eye. So whenever I read, or do closeup work on a painting, I'm lenses free. But if I need to walk about or look out of the windows, I must grab my glasses once again.

Sometimes I think my extreme visual orientation is precisely because of my impaired vision. I value that which I can see more than anything, because I know that without corrective lenses, I would be severely handicapped. I don't want to miss out on the world around me, so I look and look and look until I can see clearly...

11 comments:

Sheila said...

Oh Patrice I love this chicken painting. I want to learn how to make lush and rich images with acrylic like your able to do. I like your relating your vision with a chicken's necessity to roll their head from side to side. Your perseverance pays off because it results in such lovely gems. Thanks for sharing.

Roy said...

It seems that the avian brain is lobed; check this out (scroll down a little).

Interesting idea, that the state of our vision reflects itself in how we express our creativity. I'll have to ruminate on that one!

Kim said...

hi Patrice
love the chicken!!!
I no longer update the Top 101 Artists' Blogs List...but you are listed at my Top Artists' Directory...
here

and here
thanks for adding the badges to your blog..
have a great day
Kim aka laketrees

DJ said...

Wow, kid. Most people can't paint like that with 20/20 vision!
Truly lovely...
Oh~ Your painting is lovely, also. >giggles<

Patrice said...

Sheila - Thank you so much. I'm giving a workshop on October 17th... Kinda short notice? Yeah, well you don't need me - your work is wonderful - and vibrant.

Roy - I can always count on you for a cerebral (heh, heh) response. I want you to know I went to your link site and listened to the entire 57 minute lecture on avian brains - aka: bird brains. It was great! Yup. They have separate lobes and a relatively large cerebellum and cortex just like us. Visually we're very similar creatures. And that means we're all just a click or two away from dinosaurs after all.

DJ - You always make me smile. :-) It's true I cannot be corrected to 20/20. Best I can get is about 20/10 - I do great at about 12 inches though!

GetSoiled said...

Deja vu...all over again :) (from last week's painting experience hehe)

Like The Little Prince (Antoine de-Saint Exupery) said "the essential is invisible to the human eye" or something along those lines...you paint with soul and with a passion for nature that is hard to contain on a canvas. Feelings spill over like bubbling milk on a hot stove...unstoppable-Vision or no vision.

In other words: I ♥ DA CHICKEN!

Martha Marshall said...

Love the painting and your commentary about it. Thanks so much for reading my blog and commenting, and for the link!

silvina said...

Hi Patrice, this is a very striking portrait of a hen/rooster! Thanks for commenting on my blog.

Dean H. said...

Great chicken paintings, Patrice!
Many of the great impressionists of the past and present had/have impaired vision. It is thought to have influenced their work in a good way.

Manoel José de Santana(Manoel Limoeiro) said...

Congratulations your American friend Blog this note 10. I will always be visiting your space. A hug from Brazil Manoel Limoeiro.

Marcello said...

Very interesting post, and a great peice!
I find it amazing that you are such a talented artist with a differential eye sight!
but maybe great genious does come from some handicap: look at beethoven!! great artwork and funny post!
i would love to hear your opinion on my work:
http://markm10oda.edublogs.org/